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Ciao Cinema

As human beings: We’ve all had a passion that resonates with us deeply, back to when we were kids even. I recall being a five-six year old child, filled with massive joy experiencing film at the cinema with my father, who indeed helped shape my love for film. I think going to the movies meant a great deal for both of us you would say: On my end I struggle with speech development which led to struggling to connect with other human beings, on my father’s end the cinema was a way to form a bond in which my father had massive worries we would never be able to do due to my condition.

Begin writing this: It appears to go over my head, just how much of a significant impact my father has made on me, to drive myself into forming a passion of mine. I used to carry around this childlike suitcase, as my dad would let me have his entertainment section in the newspaper, which would feature many miniature film posters in which I would collect every week. Film would not only bring massive joy towards my childhood, not only help form a father-son bond, but it would help me significantly in my development as a person.

Experiencing film would help me significantly in speech development, as it would encourage me to speak more fluently as I would recite dialogue from movies I’ve watched. I do vividly remember reciting a line from The Rugrats Movie when I got in trouble in kindergarten or first grade… Would I make any sense to the teacher/staff member?! Probably not, but knowing I was able to speak where I struggled immensely in doing so, not to mention human beings terrify me meant the world to me because I didn’t think it was possible for me to even do so.

I feel my father doesn’t get enough credit nor acknowledgement from me for developing this passion. Maybe it’s due to the fact I wanted him to encourage me, to get into acting as a child. He obviously knew I was a mere misfit to the world, as film is what brought genuine joy to my life, so why didn’t he place me in a field that made me feel there was belonging in my existence?!

Knowing I wouldn’t have a proper childhood, not to mention what many children have gone through in Hollywood…. I feel it was my fathers intentions to keep me safe from it all. There is a great deal of gratitude to be made towards my father, as without him my love for film would potentially be nonexistent, as that would cause a great deal towards my development as a person.

As a teenager I would discover my lifelong dream of mine: Being a Film Critic, having my own Film Review Website. My cousin Tommy showed me Roger Ebert’s site, as I hoped someday I would be able to achieve this sort of thing as well.

With all due respect: I feel achieving this dream of mine would take a great amount of work, as it all starts with getting much more involved and serious with all walks of film. Fortunately in High School I finally developed a friendship with a fellow die hard moviegoer, by the name of Mihran Karapetian. Every now and then I would message Mihran on Facebook about movies, including one “Epic Weekend”, where it featured a full slate of films Chronicle, Woman in Black, ATM, The Innkeepers, and another title I can’t recall at the moment.

Senior Year wouldn’t have been as special as it was, if it wasn’t for me and Mihran to have a couple classes together. When Mihran invited me to an early screening of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty… Everything would change for the better. Mihran has been not only a terrific brother of mine as we shared a great deal of memories and films together, but without him this lifelong dream of mine wouldn’t have been possible.

He’s the one who started his own film review blog with Karapetian Reviews which I did enjoy reading from time to time. But with Mihran: He often challenged me with heated debates on films, as he helped me endure a great level of knowledge especially with indie cinema as he did help me discover A24. All I know is without Mihran: There’s no way I would’ve been a Film Critic, he has been a massive inspiration towards my life as I can’t thank him enough for everything he has done for me.

Thanksgiving 2016 I decided to go forward with becoming a Film Critic, as I would post screenshot written reviews on Social Media, while making film review videos from time to time for the first few months of 2017 as I went by A Movie Minute with Mitch Myers. The first year was a truly grind it out year. I would use my birthday money and Christmas money I saved up, to go to the movies weekly so I can write and make my reviews weekly.

It would be rough for the first nine months or so: They’ll be times where I literally can go on a discounted day and go to the early mornings at AMC Town Square where they would offer $5 movies. I would go to A LOT of free early screenings since I barely had any money, which I can’t lie, those were always fun. It may have been an immense struggle at first, however I was having the time of life doing what I’ve always wanted to do.

Then came the monthly film subscription era of cinema, which was helmed by MoviePass. $10 a month for unlimited movies everyday… It was a pure fantasy dream that really helped many up and coming critics like myself. Without MoviePass I could never imagine how I would be able to continue financing my passion, as it truly helped me significantly… Miss it everyday, however without MoviePass, AMC and Regal surely wouldn’t have created subscriptions, so a sacrifice worth taking.

From 2019 and on: We’ve not only transitioned to StrictlyFilms, but we also have achieved my lifelong dream of having my own Film Review Website. The one thing I’ve always wanted out of my existence: Was completed.

This Five Year Journey of mine has been without a doubt, the happiest period of my life. So many films were watched, hours spent watching in a theater or in my home, hours spent writing… Sometimes you truly forget where the time has gone, since your mind is consistently on a wave of pure imagination. Never in all my years in life, would I ever think people would read what I wrote, but for those working in the industry as Actors, Directors, Producers and such would take notice as well… It’s been a real pleasure making a dream of mine, come to reality in such a massive way.

2020… Ya know The Pain in the Ass. Though I was putting on a massive workhaul in delivering reviews weekly despite not being able to go to the cinema, however me personally my soul felt broken. The inhumane conditions going on within the world around me that encourages drug abuse and suicide was extremely difficult to comprehend… Isolating human beings, restricting them from their livelihoods, restricting children to going to school, and on top of it all allowing destruction on people’s businesses because of a moment of tragedy is the most destructive time of our lives.

Going back to work at the movie theater, left me in a pretty bad state mentally which was supposed to be a joyous time. I feel it’s because with everything going on in the world, going into work day by day experiencing expressionless faces consistently, restricting yourself from breathing air, while your environment is nothing but negativity… You feel a great sense of emptiness, as in my mind all I wanted to do was be dead. What is the point in being alive, if death was encouraged on a regular basis?! Everything encouraged in 2020 is the complete opposite of living, it’s just a mere slow death.

I feel what was the beginning of myself coming to an end of film criticism, is when I moved to Florida Fall 2020. I’m not going to lie: Living in Florida during this time saved my life as I always get too emotional thinking about it. There is a great sense of relief towards my heart, mind, and soul where you’re surrounded by a welcoming, strong community, where every single life mattered and you felt that every single day.

All the things I’ve experienced during my time in Florida whether it be working at a College Bookstore, Riding my Bike all around the city, Venturing out to the Beach and such, getting myself back into a strong Church Going spirit, experiencing sporting events, while surrounding myself with great walks of life with people all across the Globe… It truly changed my perspective of life for the better. You tend to think while living in Florida that maybe life was worth living after all, that there is more to life than just being alone in a theater watching movies all the time. Life is meant to have an experience, as Florida really showed me the way life was supposed to be lived.

As I come to terms with leaving this passion of mine behind, sometimes I question just how I’m going to receive motivation in life to continue on knowing the one thing I worked so hard and loved all throughout my life, is gone?!

Life has always been a tricky concept with me these past few years: I feel completed as a whole where I don’t really need to live another day. People will always feel angered or upset that I don’t have a great deal of desire to live, to me that’s a normal reaction. But then you understand how I feel, when I wish my friends who have passed on or others having their life taken away so soon, aren’t here anymore while there’s a perfectly completed individual that doesn’t need this anymore… Doesn’t feel fair to the families and friends of those who have every right to be here longer.

However: Florida has really shown me just how precious and special life is, to where continuing on isn’t such a waste of time. If you choose to live life knowing it has to be experienced rather than to be lived… You’re in for many grand surprises and blessings in which you’ll understand why you needed to be here just a little longer. There’s always something new to experience while also meeting some wonderful people along the way, as human beings we don’t take enough time to fully appreciate every moment and person in our time here.

For now: Focused on achieving a career goal of mine I’m currently funding, experiencing a few new experiences I would like to experience, acquire a passport, and to establish a more Christ-like Mind along with it all. To all my family, friends, readers, supporters: Thank you all so much for helping me achieve a life goal of mine, which has brought me a great deal of joy and completeness towards my life. I will surely miss getting on the ole IPAD or Laptop spending an hour or two talking about movies.

I guess one final thought: You know I’ve been extremely passionate and work dedicated towards this for five whole years, knowing damn well I didn’t go on a single movie date during this entire five year journey… Gotta tip my cap as I chose to be 100% focused on film throughout. -Mitch Smietana

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